Eddie The Eagle – Crash and Fail – Review
“Inspired” by the true story, Taron Egerton dons the fabulously large 1980’s eyeglasses to play Eddie Edwards – a young British man who dreams of being in the Olympics even though he is not much of an athlete. His determination makes him one of the better downhill skiers in the country, and he narrowly misses out on making the Olympic team, but finds a way to show everyone what he truly can accomplish.
After studying Olympic history, Eddie realizes the British have not had a ski jumper qualify since the 1920’s, so he sets his sights on heading off to Calgary in 1988. Along the way, Eddie battles those who think he is a joke, a potential coach (Hugh Jackman) who thinks the kid will end up injuring himself and a British Olympic Committee doubting Eddie’s ability to win over the sponsors and crowds.
Eddie The Eagle fails to soar because director Dexter Fletcher and writers Sean Macauley and Simon Kelton can’t figure out if the audience should be inspired, start to laugh or feel the thrill of victory (and the agony of defeat).
The tone is all over the place as Fletcher creates characters that are cartoonish. Instead of being plucky and determined, Eddie feels like a slightly off balance, emotionally challenged person.
His “inspirational” desire to be an Olympian is driven more by delusion and narcissism than belief in Olympic ideals or a love of sport. Fletcher and team try to swing this around towards the end and portray his adventure as more serious and dedicated to admirable ideals, but it has been so hard to take him seriously up to this point that the drama isn’t as dramatic as it needs to be.
Egerton and Jackman do what they can to make us love Eddie The Eagle, but the material fails them. Jackman is stuck playing a run of the mill, stereotypical character who washed out of life and lives his bitter days and night in a bottle of booze. Even with such a tired character, Jackman finds moments to find the energy and love of ski jumping the character needs to become redeemed, while Egerton simply hams it up for easy laughs early on.
Fletcher’s greatest accomplishment is helping the audience understand and experience what a jumper is going through as he or she speeds down the hill, flies through the air, or plummets to earth.
Eddie The Eagle crashes and fails.
1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)
Eddie The Eagle is rated PG-13 for some suggestive material, partial nudity and smoking.